Why French should be the dominant lingua franca over English
English isn’t our lingua franca around the world; let’s get that straight before we start. It isn’t even the most widely spoken language in the world; both Mandarin and Spanish have more speakers. The whys and hows of English becoming the language we think of as used more than any other aren’t important here; what is important is looking at other languages that should have dominance over English. Let’s start with French. Here is why French should be the lingua franca we use around the world.
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French belongs to the Indo-European language family as one of the Romance languages descended from Vulgar Latin. Old French, the very first real noticeable branching from Latin, was in use between the eighth and fourteenth centuries. French has been with us a while! It uses the Latin alphabet for its written language, and there is both a French Braille and French sign language.
According to the Ethnologue, French is spoken by about 77 million L1 speakers, and almost 203 million L2 speakers.
An official language
French is an official language in the following countries: Belgium, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, France, Gabon, Guinea, Haiti, Ivory Coast, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Mali, Monaco, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Switzerland, Togo, and Vanuatu.
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French is spoken on the following continents: Africa, North America, South America, Asia, Europe, and Oceania.
With facts and figures alone, it’s easy to see why French could easily be our lingua franca in place of English. It uses the same alphabet as English, has its own Braille and sign language, and is spoken all over the world. It’s already perfect! But let’s keep looking for more reasons!
International organizations that have French as an official language
There is a very long list of organizations around the world that have French as either a sole or partner official language. To name but a few:
AU, the African Union, consisting of 55 member states across Africa. Since population growth is expected to be rapid across the continent, Africa might be the biggest contributor to the future numbers of French speakers.
ATS, the Antarctic Treaty Secretariat.
ESA, European Space Agency. With continual international cooperation with our tentative exploration of space, French could easily usurp English as a language of the International Space Station, a neutral alternative to the English and Russian already spoken.
EU, European Union. Prior to the UK joining the EU, French was considered the official language of the EU! It would be fairly simple to switch back to French for a large amount of the bureaucracy that runs the Union behind the scenes.
FIFA, Fédération Internationale de Football Association.
International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
IUCN, Union Internationale pour la Conservation de la Nature.
NATO, Organisation du traité de l’Atlantique Nord.
UN, United Nations.
From international cooperation on the Antarctic and endangered species, to organization of the world’s favorite sport, French is everywhere. Why isn’t it already the lingua franca?
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Perhaps French is already creeping its way to the top of the list of important languages we speak. Already a language of the IOC (International Olympic Committee), the organizers of Tokyo 2020 have recently encouraged the use of French alongside English during the games. French nationality remains the best nationality in the world which could mean more people decide to learn French if they want to move to the country. Meanwhile, L’Academie francaise, established in 1635 to protect the French language, continues its fight against the so-called Franglais spoken in France, and the general promotion of French as a language. Perhaps these things alone don’t mean that English is on the way out, but they do suggest there is more than enough room for French in the world!
So, to recap, French is already spoken by millions the world over in many countries across numerous continents. It is an official language for many of our international institutions, some of which it used to dominate before English-speaking countries came along to oust it. French remains one of the most popular languages learned in schools in many countries and is one of the most popular language choices for adults to learn on apps like Duolingo. French is important, relevant, and constantly growing; what good reason is there for it not to become our lingua franca?
If you want to get ahead of the game before French takes over everything, why not drop us a quick enquiry to see how our courses work? Our native tutors can help you learn whatever your schedule or needs. Future-proof yourself against the invasion of French!